coldcomfortframWhat a great meeting! On Wednesday, five of us met to discuss M.L. Steadman’s novel ‘The Light Between Oceans’, and those that were unable to attend made sure to contact me and tell me their thoughts. This book was praised as highly as One Plus One and Me Before You (both Jojo Moyes novels that the bookclub adored.)

The Light Between Oceans takes place on Janus Island, Australia, and tells the story of Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, a beautiful young couple who live on Janus and maintain the lighthouse. Tom and Isabel love each other, but it is a very isolated existance and shore leave is only granted once every three years. So the Sherbourne’s decide to have a baby, which unfortunately proves to be impossible. After three miscarriages, a stricken Isabel hears a strange noise from the beach and finds a boat containing a dead man and a live baby girl. Isabel and Tom are forced to make a choice that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish it. It lead to all sorts of interesting discussions about ethics and morals – what would we have done if we were on that island? Did Isabel’s grief excuse what she had done? The book touched on many issues, and we found our group quite divided by what we thought was right and wrong. Definitely an interesting book to read as a group!

On August 26, we are tackling a lighter book: Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm.

When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly-named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation; their sons, lustful Seth and despairing Reuben; child of nature Elfine; and crazed old Aunt Ada Doom, who has kept to her bedroom for the last twenty years. But Flora loves nothing better than to organise other people. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious and ruthless parody of rural melodramas and purple prose, Cold Comfort Farm is one of the best-loved comic novels of all time.

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